The Loop

How's Fox doing with U.S. Open? As Tiger might say, it needs more reps

June 19, 2015

One round is an inadequate sample, two rounds enough to at least venture an opinion. Tiger Woods, who shot 80-76 to miss the cut in the U.S. Open? Nope. Fox Sports, two rounds into its first U.S. Open telecast.

The verdict, as Woods might say, is that it needs more reps.

It wasn't nearly as bad as Twitter would have one believe. Those who are satisfied with the coverage or indifferent to the network doing the broadcast aren't likely Tweeting their satisfaction or indifference.

Their numbers, however, are represented in these numbers: "The combined audience of the first-day coverage averaged 2.0 million viewers, making it the most-watched opening round since the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black," Fox Sports said in a news release.

It helped that part of it aired in prime time in the East made possible by the Open being played in the West, but still.

There were issues, of course, one especially hard to dismiss, when studio host Curt Menefee referred to a holed bunker shot as a chip shot. As Bob Estes noted on Twitter:

Menefee is a capable host of Fox NFL Sunday, but the chip shot from a bunker (although possible, but not in this case) was a jarring error from the perspective of knowledgable golf viewers and suggests that his golf acumen is not on a par with his football knowledge. He also said more than once on Thursday that the Open was far from over, and that "Gary Woodland hopes to play at some time tomorrow." Yes, at his scheduled tee time.

The glitches that happened on Thursday (no leaderboard and a telestrator gone wild) were compounded on Friday, notably when Jordan Spieth birdied his 10th hole and Fox' scoreboard in the lower right-hand corner of the screen jumped his score from -4 to -6 to give him sole possession of the lead. He was tied at -5.

Still, there were some fine moments, memorable, even. Like Mark Brooks' response to Tim Brando's question on the Internet live-streaming of the featured group on Friday morning: How much did you rely on your caddies to help you read putts?

"It depended on if he was sober or not when he arrived at the course," Brooks said. "If he didn't pass the smell test, he didn't read."

That proves there's hope for Fox. It only needs more reps.